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MRC Expert External Referee Selectors

Current vacancies

As part of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) peer review process, research grants and fellowship applications are assessed by independent expert reviewers. More information can be found at mrc.ukri.org/funding/peer-review/

The MRC is currently seeking to contract Expert External Referee Selectors to select these reviewers for our Research Boards and Panels.

Expert External Referee Selectors are familiar with medical research and the peer review process and have previous research experience relevant to the areas covered by our Boards and Panels. Selectors cannot be currently active researchers. Further information about the remit of the Research Boards and Panels can be found at https://mrc.ukri.org/about/our-structure/research-boards-panels/

Expert External Referee Selectors will provide the relevant Board or Panel Team with details of expert reviewers by given deadlines, to enable each application allocated to them to be sufficiently reviewed and presented for a funding decision. The minimum requirements for the details of each reviewer are:

  • Name and title
  • Current employment address
  • Current email address
  • URL (to show contact details/expertise)
  • Justification for selection

The minimum required number of reviews per application is as follows:

  • Fellowship: 3/5 expert reviews (depends on length of fellowship)
  • 3 year grant: 3 expert reviews
  • 4 year grant: 4 expert reviews
  • 5 year grant: 5 expert reviews

In the first instance, the Expert External Referee Selector are expected to provide the following number of potential reviewers:

  • 3 year grant: 8 reviewer selections
  • 4 year grant: 10 reviewer selections
  • 5 year grant: 12 reviewer selections

This could vary for strategic reviews. Expert External Referee Selectors will be informed of the expectations for strategic reviews in advance.

Each MRC Research Board and Panel meeting occurs up to three times a year and if you are successful you will be contracted to select reviewers for between 5 and 30 applications per meeting, depending on your availability. For each grant application that is successfully reviewed, you will be paid either £90 for grant applications of 2, 3 year duration, £110 for grant applications of 4 year applications or £140 for grant applications of 5 years duration. This payment will be made once sufficient reviews have been received to allow the MRC to make a funding decision.

Following the recent launch of the MRC Applied Global Health Board, for this recruitment round, MRC are particularly seeking applications from those with expertise in applied global health (see specific topics, below), although expertise in other areas is also welcomed.

Expert External Referee Selectors will often be expected to cover several research areas within a single application, and we are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with expertise in the following areas:

  • Applied global health
  • Big data
  • Bioengineering and Bioelectronics
  • Clinical/medical imaging
  • Clinical research
  • Data Linkage
  • Digital Health with a focus on translational research
  • Education
  • Electronic health records
  • Health economics
  • Health economics and cost-effectiveness assessment
  • Haematology
  • Implementation science
  • Global adolescent health
  • Global childhood development and disability
  • Global health intervention development
  • Global health policy
  • Global health services
  • Global public health
  • Medical Devices
  • mHealth
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Podoconiosis
  • Primary care research
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Research in Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMIC)
  • Snakebite
  • Vector-borne diseases

Person requirements

  • Postgraduate qualification in a relevant scientific discipline
  • Demonstrable broad interest in biomedical research
  • Experience of nationally/internationally competitive research
  • Knowledge of the peer review process
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Methodological approach to work
  • Ability to work independently and to deadline

To avoid potential conflicts of interest, and ensure the best use of scientific expertise available to the MRC, applicants cannot be:

  • Applicants or co-applicants, either now or over the contracted term, for grants from any of the Research Councils
  • Applicants must not be active researchers
  • Current members of any MRC Boards, Panels or Overview Groups
  • Current UKRI Employees


Applicants should be available to start work from April 2021 for a trial period of three months. Successful candidates will then be offered a yearly contract from April 2021 until 31 March 2022, renewable on a yearly basis subject to satisfactory performance. Expert External Referee Selectors are not MRC employees.

Applications from individuals currently on a career break or maternity leave are welcome.

This role is not based at MRC offices and would typically be home based. Applicants must have broadband access to the internet and be readily contactable.

Please contact the Research Funding Policy and delivery team (rfpd@mrc.ukri.org) if you would like further information about the role.

Application Process

To apply, please send a full CV (including daytime phone number) with a covering letter stating where you saw the advert, and explaining how you meet the above criteria and expertise required, to rfpd@mrc.ukri.org

Closing date for applications:  28 February 2021

Interviews will be held during March/April 2021 via Zoom. Successful applicants must be available to attend a one-day induction meeting in April/May 2021.